Published : 2013-09-29 10:08
Updated : 2013-09-29 10:08
The Park Geun-hye administration of South Korea is willing to help North Korea should it avert its course of nuclear weapons development, Seoul's top diplomat said Friday, addressing a U.N. General Assembly meeting.
"If the DPRK (North Korea) decides to give up its so-called parallel pursuit of economic development and nuclear armament, and in turn embarks on a path of genuine change through concrete actions, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) stands ready to help North Korea," Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said in a speech at the 68th regular session of the U.N. General Assembly.
He was referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's stated goal of simultaneously developing the impoverished communist nation's economy and nuclear program.
Yun is leading South Korea's delegation to the U.N. event in New York.
Such a position by Seoul is not new but it's the first time for the Park administration to clarify its intent on Pyongyang on the U.N. stage. Park was inaugurated in February.
The minister appealed to the international community for "unified efforts" to roll back DPRK's nuclear weapons programs to prevent the advent of another nuclear-armed state.
He also accused Pyongyang of abruptly canceling a reunion for some selected families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
The two Koreas were to resume the reunion event in early September but the North called it off, citing political reasons.
"Such an inhumane decision cannot be justified for any reason,"
Yun stressed. "I urge the DPRK to convene the family reunion as soon as possible to ease the pain and suffering of the Korean people as a whole."
He expressed hope that the U.S. and the two Koreas will work together to realize the Park government's dream of creating a World Peace Park in the demilitarized zone (DMZ), one of the world's most heavily fortified areas.
The minister did not raise the issue of Seoul-Tokyo relations, which have soured in recent years over the interpretation of their shared history.
In a separate speech at the U.N. session, meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for the resumption of the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons drive.
"It is China's consistent position that a negotiated solution through dialogue is the right way to solve the nuclear issue on the peninsula, and the six-party talks are an effective platform to promote denuclearization on the peninsula," he said.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the six-party talks, which involve the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia. The talks were last held in December 2008.
"We hope that all parties will create conditions, build consensus, work toward the same goal and resume the talks at an early date," said Wang.
Meanwile, Yun also held a meeting with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry in New York where they reaffirmed their stance on strengthening coordination toward denuclearizing North Korea, according to Seoul's foreign ministry.
He stressed that the North's denuclearization must be achieved, as Pyongyang's possession of nuclear weapons threatens peace on the Korean Peninsula, the ministry added.
"Seoul and Washington should closely cooperate in a bid to make meaningful progress toward the North's denuclearization. There should also be a need to continuously seek China's involvement," the foreign ministry quoted Yun as saying.(Yonhap news)